BrevardCARES Grants Provide Financial Relief to Small Businesses and Nonprofits Impacted By COVID-19
By Frank Abbate, Brevard County Manager // October 11, 2020
'This is going to help my business survive through this hardship'
“I wish I could give you guys a big hug … consider this a virtual hug!”
That was the reaction received via email from Joseph Lang of Bare Bone Rides, Inc. after receiving word his Brevard County small business had been awarded a $10,000 grant through the Brevard County Small Business and NonProfit Economic Relief program. Lang, who operates a custom motorcycle dealership and repair shop on Merritt Island, wasn’t alone in his sentiment.
“Thank you so much for your help,” wrote Carolyn Schmidt, who owns Baby’s Breath Imaging Studio in Titusville.
“This is going to help my business survive through this hardship. I want you to know that your hard work is greatly appreciated and will never be forgotten.”
Michael Lipsky emailed the County to say, “I am in tears, literally!” after he was notified of a $10,000 grant awarded to Sunburst Tanning Company, Inc. in Melbourne.
And Kurt Schirmer wrote, “We appreciate the County helping small business owners in this crazy time and this is just one of the reasons why we love being in business in Brevard County.” Schirmer’s business, Chairs for Affairs Party Rentals, is located in Melbourne and also received a $10,000 grant.
These are just some of the many positive reactions received since applicants have been notified their grant applications have been approved. The Brevard County Board of County Commissioners has allocated $10 million in Coronavirus Air, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to assist Small Businesses and Nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis. Grants of up to $10,000 are still available. As of Sept. 30, the County had awarded 800 grants totaling $7.5 million.
These are grants, not loans, and therefore do not have to be repaid to the County.
The grant program is administered by Katherine Wall, Assistant to the County Manager, and is one of several grant assistance programs the County currently has in place to help businesses and residents of the county rebound from the financial impact of the ongoing pandemic.
“I want to thank the Board of County Commissioners for their leadership in initiating this program and I commend them for their support,” said County Manager Frank Abbate.
“I also want to recognize all of the County employees who have taken on the additional responsibilities to their jobs to review and approve these applications and for the support of the Clerk of Court’s, County Finance to process these grant awards.”
To be eligible through the Small Business and Nonprofit Economic Relief Program, the small business:
• Must be physically located in Brevard County
• Must have been in business as of January 1, 2020
• Must have 50 or fewer employees
• Must have been negatively impacted financially by the COVID-19 public health emergency
• Must be enrolled in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security E-Verify program
• Nonprofits must be a 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6) or a 501(c)(19) as designated by Internal Revenue Code.
Along with assistance for small businesses and nonprofit organizations, other programs have been implemented that can assist individuals with rental and mortgage payments, utility and security deposits and food stability. These programs are available through the County’s Housing and Human Services Department.
Those eligible must be a resident of Brevard County, at or below 140 percent of area median income, and able to demonstrate assistance is required as a result of direct impacts from coronavirus.
Applicants must also provide supporting documents related to income, need and other assistance received. So far, 1,192 applications for individual assistance have been received with $3.2 million obligated. The average amount of assistance awarded is $3,335.
The County has also allocated funding for food stability programs and has provided 37,593 meals through a weekend feeding program; served 8,165 households through a Farmer’s Market program; and provided 151,750 meals through Independent Living Systems LLC.
In August, the County distributed 2,000 free Personal Protection Equipment kits to small businesses. Each kit included 200 procedure masks, 25 reusable cloth masks, two boxes of gloves and hand sanitizer.
Additional supplies have been ordered by the County and applications for new distributions will be available for small businesses and restaurants effective Monday, Oct. 5. Application forms include distribution locations that applicants can select to pick up PPE beginning on Monday, Oct. 12. Those businesses that have previously received PPE are still eligible to receive additional supplies.
The Board of County Commissioners has also allocated $2.3 million and partnered with CareerSource Brevard for a Small Business and Nonprofit Organizations Workforce Recovery Program, which helps laid off or furloughed employees and provides staffing support to businesses.
All applications, and answers to frequently asked questions about the County’s assistance programs, can be found here: www.brevardfl.gov/BrevardCares. Information is also available Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 321-350-9194.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
In a 5-0 vote, the Brevard County Commission named Frank Abbate as Brevard County Manager in July 2017. Having served in the public sector for over 32 years, Abbate’s professional career is anchored by 26 years as Brevard County’s Human Resources Director. Prior to being named Brevard County Manager, Abbate was the assistant county manager for public safety and support services.
As County Manager, Abbate is the head of the executive branch of County Government and is responsible to the Board of County Commissioners for the proper administration of all affairs of County Government not otherwise entrusted to an elected County officer.
The Manager attends all regular and special meetings of the Board of County Commissioners and has the right to participate in its discussions. Abbate has served as an Instructor for both Webster University and UCF in their graduate Public Administration and Human Resources Development programs.
Upon graduating from the Dickinson School of Law, Penn State University, he was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1982. He served as a Staff Attorney and then as the Personnel Director/Labor Attorney for the City of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for six years.
After moving to Florida in 1989, Abbate was admitted to the Florida Bar. As an undergraduate student at S.U.N.Y. @ Stony Brook, Abbate earned his Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Political Science and served as a congressional intern in Washington, D.C.
Abbate lives in Satellite Beach with his wife Rita. The couple are the proud parents of three children and three grandchildren.